Microsoft Partly Funds New Australian Research Lab

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has announced the creation of a new eResearch center in Brisbane, Australia, with $2.7 million Australian dollars (US$2.1 million) in initial funding.

The eResearch lab is said to be one of only 12 in the world and will provide scientists with advanced technologies to accelerate scientific research and discovery of sustainable resources. The lab will specifically focus its research efforts on water management, urban planning and climate change.

The seed funding comes from a three-year collaborative agreement between the Queensland government, QUT and Microsoft Australia, each of which is contributing A$900,000.

Microsoft officials claim the eResearch lab is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Scientists at the lab will combine the processing power of computers and the Internet to support research through the large-scale collaboration of people, data and other resources.

QUT’s deputy vice chancellor of research and commercialization, Professor Arun Sharma, said the lab’s computing power will let the scientists use their minds for what they do best—research.

Intellectual property (IP) will be owned by QUT, but Microsoft will be granted a license to commercialize any IP generated.

Microsoft Research Asia’s university relations manager, John Warren, said the new lab represents the next chapter in a six-year relationship between QUT and Microsoft.

"By establishing the new eResearch lab together, we can leverage each other’s strengths to achieve better outcomes, both in terms of innovation and in generating greater economic benefits for the state," Warren said. "In providing this grant, one of Microsoft’s main aims is to encourage research and development and to help Queensland embed a culture of innovation that will lay the groundwork for the state as a leading knowledge economy."

Microsoft claims to have provided about A$6 million in grants and resources over the past four years to help Queensland establish itself as an innovative state.

-Staff, Computerworld Today (Australia)

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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